“I will not scribble on, deface or encroach upon any monument.” “I will respect all monuments which are a part of my country’s heritage.” “I will render all possible help to conserve and preserve our heritage.”
Students in CBSE affiliated schools across the country will now have to take such pledges as part of the government’s move to sensitise children about heritage conservation.
A direction in this regard has come from HRD Minister Kapil Sibal who wants the pledge on heritage protection to be a part of the curriculum of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), a top official said.
The step is aimed at sensitising students for the protection of the country’s invaluable monuments. There are about 6,700 ASI-protected monuments in the country and many a time people engrave messages and deface them. There are also a few thousand monuments which are unprotected by any agency. Sibal gave this instruction to the largest school board last week after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) approached him for such a measure which is expected to help immensely in heritage conservation.
The CBSE has been asked to frame a proper scheme within a week, specifying how the pledge could be included in the school system, the CBSE official said.
ASI’s Delhi Circle chief KK Mohammed said it has started such sensitisation programme among school children in Delhi this year. “We approached the HRD Ministry to spread the sensitisation programme on a larger scale among school children across the country. We have started such programme at Qutub Minar, where students from different city schools are coming and participating in the programme,” he said.
Mohammed said ASI has been conducting similar programme in Madhya Pradesh since 2007. “There is no scribbling on any monument since 2007 in Madhya Pradesh,” he said.
The ASI gives the example of emperor Ashoka who in his edicts appealed to people to respect their parents and seniors. “Similarly, the monuments are the testimonies of rich culture of the country. We tell children to follow the advice of Ashoka,” he said.